Western Energy News

Report: $2 million in federal ‘clean coal’ grant money spent on booze, travel

COAL: A government watchdog discovers that a Texas energy company behind a failed carbon sequestration project improperly charged the Energy Department over $2 million for booze, first class travel and spa services. (Bloomberg)

ALSO: Environmentalists and Oklahoma officials are at odds over the state’s plan to assume control of the permitting of coal ash waste disposal from federal regulators. (Daily Oklahoman)

OIL AND GAS:
• In the wake of a deadly home explosion last year, Colorado oil and gas regulators approve new rules for for the installation, testing and operation of flow lines. (Associated Press)
• Three environmental groups have teamed up to sue the Trump administration for allowing companies to dump fracking waste in the Gulf of Mexico. (The Hill)

NUCLEAR: State officials in Nevada once again retain a law firm to help them fight the Trump administration’s plan to restart the licensing process for the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository. (Nevada Appeal)

SOLAR: Arizona-based First Solar is the second biggest global solar developer, with a total operational and development portfolio of almost 10 gigawatts, according to a new report. (Greentech Media)

RENEWABLES:
• Clean energy initiatives in Nevada, Arizona and Michigan are all getting a financial boost from billionaire Democrat Tom Steyer. (Phoenix New Times)
• In a rare interview, Switch CEO Rob Roy speaks out about Nevada’s largest utility and a proposed clean energy ballot measure. (Nevada Independent)

GRID: Oral arguments begin in a case against Texas’s grid operator brought by a company that claims it was given flawed information about the scarcity of power supplies in the state. (The Herald Democrat)

POLICY: With the closure of a major coal-fired power plant in New Mexico looming, a Farmington lawmaker files legislation that would require utilities closing coal plants to build new electricity generating facilities within the same school district as the old one. (Albuquerque Journal)

WIND:
• A Trump energy adviser and Oklahoma oil executive is behind the anti-wind industry campaign sweeping over the state. (Houston Chronicle)
• A Virginia energy company completes two wind-fed, grid-scale storage projects in Texas. (Power Technology)

COMMENTARY:
• No one is a winner when it comes to pitting the wind and oil and gas industries against each other in Oklahoma, says the Stillwater News Press.
• A Texas town’s recent decision to get all of its power from renewable sources by 2020 makes economic sense and will help the environment, says a local city councilman. (Denton Record Chronicle)
• Lubbock’s request to join Texas’s deregulated power market confirms its many virtues, says an Austin lawyer and former utility regulator. (Dallas Morning News)

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